NEP Connect was the sole connectivity supplier to the wedding’s host broadcaster, on Saturday 19 May 2018, at St George’s Chapel within Windsor Castle.Read more
Jessie J in McDonald’s 24 Gifts of Joy
NEP Connect (formerly known as SIS LIVE) was central to the London section of an ambitious 24-hour global entertainment campaign by McDonald’s involving a surprise open-top bus gig by Jessie J.
The restaurant chain wanted to underline its worldwide popularity by staging 24 continuous ‘Gifts of Joy’ in synchronised public events across 24 cities around the world over 24 hours, all available to watch live via social media.
Surprise events would begin in Sydney and continue through major cities, including Manila, Ho Chi Min City, Vienna, Stockholm and London before a final concert in Los Angeles. Viewers around the world were able to follow each consecutive event online on laptops and mobile devices.
Jessie J was the star of the London segment of the marathon campaign, performing her greatest hits in an hour-long concert on an open-topped double decker ‘Boom Bus’ weaving its way through the city’s landmarks. McDonald’s wanted the entire gig to be streamed live through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, so that online viewers across the globe could share the excitement.
The coverage had to capture all the surprise and delight of pedestrians along the route, as well as the party atmosphere generated by Jessie J and the handful of lucky fans who joined her on the top of the bus.
However, it had to keep to a strict time schedule – with no hitches – in order to maintain the momentum gathered by the highly synchronised, continuous global ‘day of joy’.
When Partizan, the production company charged with overseeing the London leg of the globetrotting party, began its search for a reliable broadcast partner to ensure the webcast was a success, NEP Connect was highly recommended.
Ella Sanderson, Executive Producer at Partizan, said: “We went to NEP Connect because we were advised they were the best in market.
“It was important the sense of movement, fun and customer involvement at the heart of McDonald’s I’mlovinit24 campaign came through in the hour-long London leg of the event. With the world watching live, there was no room for error, and we felt we could rely on the experience and professionalism of NEP Connect to ensure the millions of people watching worldwide via social media could share the party excitement. NEP Connect pulled out all the stops to ensure they did not disappoint.”
Martin Evans, IP Sales Manager, NEP Connect, said: “Everyone said NEP Connect were the people to speak to, because no one could match our all-round expertise in live event streaming, social streaming and online video hosting.
McDonald’s wanted customers at its restaurants along the central London route to be involved wherever possible and actors were used in pre-planned roadside events to add colour and excitement. Helicopter aerial shots, along with the footage of Jessie J and her fans on the bus, were also thrown into the mix managed by NEP Connect.
Weeks of meticulous planning by NEP Connect followed, as they worked out the logistics of meeting the exacting demands of such an ambitious project.
Evans said: “In technical terms this was similar to our Red Bull Revolutions in Sound live streams from the London Eye. We had to work in a compact moving space, as well as mix live camera feeds from the remote vision gallery on the bus and those on the street.
“Part of our task was to work out how many cameras were needed and to check signal strength along the narrow, built-up streets of central London. RF network limitations meant the roving cameras could only work within 300 metres of the moving bus, which in crowded streets could be problematic.
“Working live in a very public environment – in this case on an open-topped bus crawling through central London traffic – presents a lot of unknowns, but the event organisers knew they were in safe hands with NEP Connect.”
On 24th March, Jessie J climbed aboard the bus to join overjoyed fans – and viewers around the world watched as the live music extravaganza unfolded.
Eight cameras fed continuous footage from the bus itself, where Jessie J sang hits including ‘Bang Bang’, ‘Price Tag’ and ‘Domino’ to open-mouthed pedestrians en-route. Six pairs of cameramen with RF cameras leapfrogged each other to provide continuous footage along the eight-mile journey, taking in landmarks such as Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and The Ritz.
Live and video inserts recorded the reactions of people on the street, and captured pre-planned events using actors to add to the excitement. Footage containing the surprised reaction of diners at McDonald’s restaurants along the route was also included.
A helicopter flying directly above the bus provided overhead shots and acted as a mid-point for RF signals to be downlinked at BT Tower. These signals were then passed to NEP Connect’s network operations centre (NOC) in Salford, Manchester, to be decoded and then delivered to the Milton Keynes NOC, where they were encoded for streaming.
Two back-up links via RF links direct to BT Tower and multiple mobile phone back-up solutions were also in place for complete redundancy and a guarantee of continued live coverage and professional picture quality. NEP Connect also used EVS machines to build in a short delay to the live feed in case of any unexpected incident.
On the bus an event director worked with a mixing desk to cut the live music from Jessie J and her band, and a 16-way vision mixer to cut live pictures from all sources. Meanwhile, 100 production staff on London wide talkback helped to orchestrate the event.
Evans said: “The bus generated a huge amount of excitement all along the route and we’re delighted to have played our part in ensuring the thrilling sight and sound of a high-profile concert moving through central London was shared live with fans.
“As always, the broadcast teams onsite and in Milton Keynes remained cool and professional throughout. Mixing three different and largely unpredictable live feeds for a live social streaming feed is a challenge, and NEP Connect is the only company who could have achieved that.
“Our teams did a fantastic job of capturing all the drama and colour of an ambitious live event, ensuring it was streamed live to the worldwide audience. It created a real stir on social media too, with lots of people tweeting about it. We’re delighted to have helped i’mlovinit24 make such a huge worldwide impact.”
The event appeared live on social media and was subsequently edited into a three-minute highlights package, which can be seen at imlovinit24.com/London.